Clashes Expected in Chin State as Junta Deploys More Troops to Western Myanmar

By The Irrawaddy 1 June 2022

Myanmar’s military is deploying more troops to Chin State and neighboring Magwe Region by air and land, according to local resistance groups, raising fears of further clashes in western Myanmar, a stronghold of the anti-regime resistance movement.

On Monday, a Myanmar Air Force plane carrying nearly 300 soldiers, as well as drones, landed at Kyaukhtu Airport on the border of Chin State and Magwe Region, said a member of the Chin Defense Force – Mindat (CDF-Mindat). Kyaukhtu is a gateway to Mindat Township.

The CDF-Mindat fighter warned civilians to prepare bomb shelters as soon as possible as junta forces are likely to attack with drones. He also alerted other resistance groups in Chin’s Mindat and Kanpetlet townships, as well as groups in Magwe’s Saw Township, to be ready for clashes with the regime reinforcements.

On Friday, a convoy of nearly 120 military vehicles, including armored vehicles and fuel transporters, headed to Chin State via the Pale-Gangaw Highway from the military’s Northwestern Command Headquarters in Monywa in Sagaing Region, according to local resistance forces.

The convoy was attacked with landmines on Sunday after it left Pale Township. The Black Peacock resistance group said their ambush damaged four vehicles. Junta troops responded with random artillery strikes and one Black Peacock fighter was killed.

Despite the attack, the convoy continued to Gangaw in Magwe Region. The Yaw Defense Force said the convoy arrived at Kyaw, a small town in Gangaw Township, on Tuesday.

Yaw Defense Force is active in Gangaw, Kyaw, Tilin and Saw townships, collectively known as Yaw Region, near the border with Chin State.

The chief of Yaw Defense Force said: “Around 120 vehicles is not a small force. If they enter our area, there will definitely be clashes.”

Military tensions are increasing in Chin State, said the CDF-Mindat spokesperson.

“It is true that the soldiers are travelling in large numbers. A group of another 100 soldiers also entered Chin State from Kyaukhtu on Wednesday. They [junta forces] have started an offensive,” he said.

During the second week of May, CDF-Mindat repeatedly ambushed a regime convoy comprising over 70 vehicles on the Matupi -Mindat Road, inflicting heavy casualties with landmines. Normally, it takes less than day to travel between Mindat and Matupi, but the ambushes ensured that the convoy took over ten days to make the journey.

Clashes between resistance fighters and regime forces have been reported in Chin State since May 2021.